For all the budding Indiana Joneses on campus, the Center for Latin American Studies has the class for you.

For the second straight semester, the university is offering elementary Quechua, one of the official languages of Bolivia and Peru. With eight to10 million speakers, Quechua is the most widely spoken Amerindian language.

“The language itself, the construction and the way you put sentences together is completely foreign to any language I have learned before,” said Matt Lesley (GRD ’09), a student in the inaugural class.

In August 2006, the Center for Latin American Studies was able to secure funding for the program through a NDEA Title VI grant by the Department of Education. The next spring, Georgetown began a search for a Quechua instructor and hired Luis Morato-Lara.

“It’s a language that’s fighting to keep existing and one of the ways is teaching it here in the U.S.,” Morato-Lara said.

orato-Lara said the large Bolivian community in the D.C. area makes it a great place to learn about the Quechua language.

“This place is the best place we can immerse with the Andean community without a passport,” he said.

Eighteen students enrolled in the inaugural class, and seven are enrolled this semester.

Danny Rico (SFS ’09) was also part of the first class and found the Quechua class to be different from many other languages.

“Other languages tend to just focus on just the basic language. Since the language here is so intertwined in the culture, you have to learn the language as well as the culture,” Rico said.

“This project is still in its infancy,” Morato-Lara said. “The future of Quechua in this university is going to depend upon the university.”

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